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MASINDI DISTRICT FORCED TO REFUND MONEY PAID TO GHOST PENSIONERS

By Ismail Bategeka

MASINDI: Authorities in Masindi district have been forced to refund 100 million shillings paid to the 60 ghost pensioners in the payroll of the last six months.

This was discovered in the external auditor general’s report of 2021/2022.

In the external auditors report presented to the local government ministry and parliament, the public accounts’ committee cited gross irregularities including payments of 60 ghost pensioners who cannot be traced, overpayment and underpayment of different government projects among others.

Mr. Cosmas Byaruhanga the Masindi district LCV chairperson confirms the 60 ghost pensioners discovered in the audit report saying the matter was presented to both local government and inspector general of government for further action.

‘’The auditor general’s report also cited gross irregularities in the financing system to different district projects. To date, the district cannot trace the whereabouts of 60 pensioners,’’ he added.

Mrs. Phionah Sanyu the Masindi District Chief Administrative Officer {CAO} asserts that the audit report raised issues of payroll, over payments and pensioners who can’t be traced.

“We were summoned to parliament’s public accounts’ committee over payroll issues and other issues raised in the auditor general’s report, they were not convinced, and we have even made a statement over the matter, ”Mrs. Sanyu disclosed.

‘’In July 2022, I interdicted principal human resources officer Mr. Opigo Syrus and appointed Mr. Hakim Jami as an acting principal human resource officer as one of the ways to resolve the issues on district payrolls,’’ she added.

According to Mrs. Sanyu, in the district local government, payroll issues are handled theoretically by the human resources office saying she had to interdict the one who did the mess as part of finding a solution to the problem.

The state minister for local government Mrs. Victoria Rusoke Busingye told district leaders that investigations for the payroll and missing pensioners kicked off and actions will be taken into those who are implicated.

The minister adds that the ministry will further summon former Masindi CAO Mr. Nkurunzinza Geoffrey to answer how the ghost pensioners featured on payroll while he was still in office.

 

 

Other audit queries

The report further implicated the office of the chief administrative officer for authorizing 109 million shillings for retention while the period had ended in July this year.

The district further passed an addition of 87 million shillings to top up 50 million shillings sent to Masindi district from the Central government to standardize the playground for Budongo seed secondary school in Bujenje Constituency.

The state minister for local government Mrs. Victoria Rusoke Busingye said all seed school playgrounds are at a standard of 50 million shillings saying they are investigating why they topped on 87 million shillings and the ground has not been completed.

However, Mr. David Baguma the Masindi chief finance officer says they had agreed on the top-up of 87 million shillings to 50 million shillings at the site inspection meeting they held at the school in December 2020.

Mr. Emmy Ngabirano, the Masindi Resident District Commissioner says, he has already invited the police CID department, IGG and state house anti-corruption unit so that the implicated people can be tried in courts of law.

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